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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Byers

Our Faults, His Grace

Updated: Oct 13, 2021

Berating ourselves doesn’t transform us; despising ourselves doesn’t bring freedom and peace. Only love transforms! And the love of Christ expressed in the Cross is the deepest and truest transforming power in the universe.

Fixing our gaze on our faults only creates counter-productive patterns of anxiety, discouragement and introspection. But we don’t have to be preoccupied with ourselves, our failures (which are inevitable) and our weaknesses. His love eclipses these, covering our faults so that we don’t need to be anxious. In fact, the best way to overcome faults is to receive his love more deeply, more securely into the places of brokenness and need. We don’t ruminate about the past or fantasize about the future, instead we fix our gaze on the Faultless One who lifts our faults and failures into the Cross and imparts fresh life and hope to us.

In his letters of spiritual direction during the early 1800s Francois-Marie-Jacob Libermann wrote: “Don’t allow yourself to become disheartened or discouraged if it appears you are making no progress. Simply strive to forget all these things and turn your mind toward God, standing before Him in the quiet and continuous desire that He make of you and in you His holy pleasure. … Only look at God and this with a pure and simple faith. … A great deal of harm will occur if you lose heart or if you berate yourself too much for your failures.”

Indeed, we don’t need to dramatize our failures, but neither do we overlook them. We are honest and bring them to Him, letting the fire of his love consume. This “puts us in the position of smallness, confidence and abandonment by which we are placed entirely in the hands of God who can act in us by grace” (Fr. Jacque Philippe, Searching for and Maintaining Peace). Then we go on to do the next small thing in front of us.

If the Spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead lives in us (Rom. 8:11) - and indeed He does - then there is no room for self-dismissal, self-deprecation or self-accusation which siphon our joy. Instead, His lovingkindness is extended to us, engracing us to walk forward with quiet confidence.

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